Russian Baptists seek to work with Orthodox churches comment (0)
July 12, 2012
MOSCOW — “Baptists do not preach the Baptist confession; Baptists preach the gospel. Nowhere do we give out calls to accept the Baptist faith.”
That was one of many claims made by Alexey Smirnov, president of the Russian Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists, in an interview published on his church’s website May 21. The interview referred primarily to the Moscow meeting of Smirnov and John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), with Kirill I, patriarch of Moscow and all the Rus’ and Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, on March 29.
This was the first meeting between the heads of the Russian Baptist and Orthodox churches since the deceased Alexey II met with then-President Yuri Sipko and Neville Callam, BWA general secretary, in Moscow on June 18, 2008.
Smirnov could envision Baptists and Orthodox again evangelizing jointly — as occurred on occasion two decades ago — but he prefers a focus on the preaching of the gospel, not history or church tradition.
“The Orthodox church is changing,” he said. “The patriarch is preaching the gospel. We could help and accompany each other along the way.” Smirnov noted that a new joint committee has been formed to resolve conflicts between Orthodox and Baptist circles.